With the right opportunities and support during their formative years, young people can overcome homelessness and go on to live rich, independent lives. Rising Up is the biggest investment in the City’s history to target youth homelessness by working in concert with existing resources. Our data has shown that Rising Up is effectively bringing young people in off the streets, or for others, helping them avoid homelessness all together. Most importantly, to date we have done this for over 500 young people.
About Rising Up
I was born with chronic kidney disease. At time of conception, my mom was addicted to drugs, so my grandmother became my legal guardian. She raised me in the Outer Mission/Excelsior District.
I was 22 when my grandmother passed away. I ended up homeless, living in the back of a U-Haul. My kidney function dropped to 15%, the last step before renal failure. It was my doctor who told me about Larkin Street.
Now I’m in the Rising Up program. I live in a 4-bedroom apartment with housemates. Rent is expensive, but I have a place that’s mine. My case manager never stops pushing me. I’m in the GED program. I have a job and a therapist. The approach is working.
I still remember my first day in the program. As soon as I sat down on the bed, I took a deep breath. “I’m inside now,” I thought. At that moment, I realized that my future is what I make of it. It’s not easy, but this program gives you the tools. It’s up to you to create your future.
About a year ago, at the age of 19, Dahlia found herself on her own, needing to find a safe place to live, a job, and a way to continue her education. Being a resourceful young woman, Dahlia learned about Five Keys Schools and Programs. She signed up for their GED completion program and earned her GED within a very short period of time thanks to the kind and thoughtful support that the staff at Five Keys offered her.
Armed with her GED, Dahlia was able to obtain a job working as a pre-school associate teacher at a child-care center in Oakland. Now, though, she also needed a place to live. At the recommendation of the case manager at Five Keys, Dahlia went to Larkin Street Youth Services to inquire about finding housing. With the support of a helpful case manager at Larkin Street, Dahlia qualified for Rapid Rehousing. Like many others who are looking for housing during the pandemic, she stayed in a hotel while she was waiting to be placed, and was very happy when
Brilliant Corners, the Rising Up non-profit partner that provides supportive housing for young people in the program, found a one-bedroom apartment for her in Oakland. Dahlia loves her bright and sunny apartment, and through Rising Up she was able to get the furnishings she needed. Having settled in, she sees her case manager on a regular basis and has also received financial counseling from the Office of Financial Empowerment. Through this counseling Dahlia has learned how to set up a budget, open up a checking account, and build up her credit.
Dahlia is very happy with her work at the child-care center and they, in fact, are helping her take coursework to obtain a credential in Early Childhood Education. She really loves working with the pre-school children and very much wants to get her ECE certification.
Dahlia has worked hard to secure a good and productive life for herself. An important factor is that Dahlia is pregnant and she wants to assure a safe and secure environment for herself and her baby. In the future, Dahlia would like to get an associates degree so that she can expand her career options. She has friends locally, including the baby’s father, whom she can rely on for help in her journey. Her ultimate goal is to have the income and stability to create a good home for herself, her baby, and the people she cares about, including her mother.